Prosecutors in a high-profile Dale County capital murder case are asking a judge to curtail pre-trial publicity.
According to court documents, Dale County Assistant District Attorney David Emery asked the court to take action to control pretrial publicity in the case involving Coley McCraney, who is charged with capital murder in the 1999 deaths of Dothan teens J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett.
Emery contends the goal of the motion is to preserve a neutral jury pool in Dale County. Without judicial intervention, the motion states, it appears that the prospective jury pool will be saturated with thoughts and opinions regarding the facts and nature of this case before a trial begins.
Emery suggested the court consider excluding the public and print and electronic media from all pretrial hearings, prohibit all attorneys, parties, witnesses, law enforcement personnel and court personnel from releasing information in any form to any agent or employee of any news media, directing that all records and transcripts pertaining to McCraney’s case be sealed until a jury is impaneled, prohibit the use of video or other cameras in court proceedings, and establish clear and precise court order limits.
Defense attorneys David Harrison and Andrew Scarborough have filed a motion objecting the state’s request.
Harrison and Scarborough claim the prosecution has publicly released all of the aforementioned statements and evidence and has actively participated in the saturation and contamination of the jury pool in this case, and maintains that the U.S. Constitution and Alabama Constitution consider public trials as one of the safeguards to the due process guaranteed to every citizen.
The defense also claims prosecutors filed the motion as a hindrance to the defense and its ability to impanel an impartial jury.
An order has not been issued at this time.